Kathy Nakagawa

Kathy Nakagawa is a professor in the Asian-American Studies department at Arizona State University. She grew up in the Phoenix area where her family started commercial flower gardens in the 1950s.

Updated January 2016

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The Japanese-American Flower Growers Who Made Phoenix Bloom

When my high school orchestra teacher found out my family owned a Japanese flower garden in Phoenix, Arizona, he made a confession: He had once snuck into those fields. He stole flowers to propose to his wife. To this day, I meet other people who share with me equally vivid memories of the farms. One friend told me: “I would drive my mom there every weekend!” Although all of the flower fields are gone now, they’re still an important part of the history of Phoenix. And of Japanese-American history in Arizona.

The “Issei” and “Nisei”—first and second generation ...

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